Why it would suck to live on the Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon: beau idéal of the Rebel Alliance fleet, legendary icon of the criminal underworld and all-round fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Life aboard the Falcon would be a life of excitement and danger, more than worthy of a place in the world's most beloved sci-fi saga. Who wouldn't want to call it home? Well, if you've got any sense, you wouldn't. It might feel tempting to hop aboard and begin living out your days as a devilish rogue or heroic starfighter, but you're probably better off keeping your feet on the ground.

You'll always be on the run

Let's start with that life of excitement you're about to plunge yourself into. Over the course of the Star Wars films, the Falcon is hunted, tracked, or attacked by an endless array of villains. The Empire wants it, the First Order wants it, Unkar Plutt and Kanjiklub and the Guavian Death Gang all want it, as do a number of bounty hunters who'd have no qualms tossing you out the airlock.

Now, you might argue that many of them were after the Falcon's crew more than the Falcon herself, but that doesn't change the fact that she's had countless owners over the years (such as Gannis Ducain, the Irvings, and Lando Calrissian), none of whom are going to care who's at the helm when they come for it. What with all the Falcon's unique modifications and upgrades, you're never going to be able to lie low, either. Every day will be spent looking over your shoulder, terrified that a previous owner will have finally caught up with you. Han managed it, sure, but you'e not Han, are you?

It's insanely unreliable

Congratulations: you've been tracked down by a gang of roaming bounty hunters who've got their eye on the Falcon, but, luckily, you slipped out of their grasp and made it off-world. All you need to do now is make the jump to lightspeed, and you're off, free and easy. Naturally, of course, this will be the moment the Falcon breaks down.

Basically the entire crux of Han and Leia's story in The Empire Strikes Back is the Falcon's unreliability, with her hyperdrive apparently being the most troublesome component. The main hyperdrive might make it one of the fastest ships in the galaxy, but once that fails — and it fails three times in Empire, by our count — you're stuck with the backup, which takes weeks to reach nearby systems. And if that goes, too? Well, let's just say you'd better hope someone comes to pick you up.

It's too cramped

During the course of the films, the Falcon tends to have an average crew of five or six people, including droids. According to Disney's official cross-section of the Falcon, she's got a grand total of two rooms, discounting the cockpit and cargo holds, and they aren't very big. Not exactly what you'd call breathing room, is it? And that's not even going into the sleeping situation.

There are four beds in total, two in each room, so don't expect any privacy here. One of those was only added after Gannis Ducain took the ship, post-Return of the Jedi. If you're living onboard prior to that movie, that makes three beds. In A New Hope, the ship carried Han, Chewie, Luke, and Obi-Wan to Alderaan. Presumably, somebody had to sleep on the floor or the couch. This is not the way you want to live.

It might decide to spontaneously gas you to death

In The Force Awakens, Rey, Finn, and BB-8 steal the Falcon from Jakku to escape the First Order. Before long, however, their lives are put at risk thanks to a severe lack of hyperdrive maintenance in previous years, when the ship was in the possession of Unkar Plutt. This causes an energy flux in the motivator. That equals chain reaction which equals ship flooded with poison gas.

Rey manages to fix the fault, but you're not Rey, are you? Unless you can maintain and fix a hyperdrive yourself on the fly (and you probably can't), it isn't going to be too long until something catastrophic goes wrong and the Falcon itself turns against you. And that's not even going into all the other problems that'll crop up as a result of age, damage, or insufficient maintenance. Who knows what could happen next?

There's no telling what's on board

It may have begun life as a freighter, but the Falcon has spent most of its days as part of the galaxy's criminal underworld. Its owners have included a renowned smuggler, a gambler, a shady junk dealer, a gunrunner, and two gangsters. It is, put simply, a fairly disreputable vessel.

If the Star Wars films have taught us anything about the Falcon, it's that she's filled with countless hatches, hideaways, and holes that are used by its owners to keep illicit cargo under the radar. Considering how quickly and easily the ship changes hands, there's simply no way to know if all of the previous owner's "belongings" have been removed from the ship. As a result, you're never going to know if you're unknowingly transporting weapons, drugs (and yes, drugs are a thing in Star Wars), secret Death Star plans, or even human beings. Oh, and anyone who's ever played Knights of the Old Republic will be able to tell you just how frustrating it is to get loose animals off a spaceship. If you're taking hold of the Falcon, you'd best hope she's clean.

The ship will sass you at every opportunity

If you think your duties aboard the Falcon end at repairing, maintaining, and flying her, well, you're wrong — you also get to deal with the ship's primary computer. The computer was made from the droid brains of an astromech droid, a slicer droid, and a transport droid, and, according to one diagram, it's managed to develop quite the attitude over the years. As a result, the Falcon is as snippy and sarcastic as an astromech that's gone too long without a memory wipe — a good comparison being R2-D2.

Now, you might like R2, of course, but that doesn't mean R2 likes you. Having a ship with that much "personality" will get tiresome pretty quickly, unless you have a droid along to talk to it for you. Of course, that droid will probably have an attitude, too. There's no winning.

The bathroom sucks

Notice anything missing in that video above? The Falcon's crew quarters are completely neglected by the films themselves. Disney's cross-section of the Falcon details the ship's "quarters" and its entire one bathroom. It is roughly the size of a phone booth. It's also, you might notice, situated right next to the kitchen (which we'll discuss in a moment) because apparently the legendary Captain Solo has no sense of basic hygiene.

Speaking of hygiene, there doesn't seem to be enough room for a shower in there, which isn't going to make those long journeys on the backup hyperdrive fun — especially if you're sleeping on the floor. Maybe the Star Wars movies never go into detail about these aspects of life aboard the Falcon because it would be incredibly depressing to realize that Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie, Finn, Rey, and all the rest probably stink to high heaven.

The kitchen is ... tricky

Okay, the galley. According to the cross-section, it was added as a wedding gift from Han to Leia well after the events of Return of the Jedi. Two problems can be inferred from this. First, anyone living on the Falcon before the end of the original trilogy was stuck with cold sandwiches and canned food (or whatever the space equivalent is) until you next reach an inhabited planet. No kitchen means no hot food means no fun.

If you're living on the Falcon around the sequel trilogy era, you have that sweet galley to utilize, which means better, hotter food. Before you go firing up the grill, however, ask yourself this: do you really, honestly feel comfortable using a kitchen that a guy bought for his wife as his wedding gift? The whole thing reeks of misogyny. You know what happens when you enable Han "Traditional Family Values" Solo? Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren is what happens.

It's boring

So you don't really have anywhere to go aboard the Falcon, but you can still lounge around. Well, even in those cramped little rooms you're going to find yourself twiddling your thumbs. Apart from actually flying the ship, the only "fun" thing you can spend your time doing appears to be the dejarik table in the communal space. Dejarik, by the way, is a chess-like game which is apparently so utterly tedious to play that, according to an Easter egg in The Force Awakens, not a single person used the board over the three or four decades between A New Hope and The Force Awakens.

Other than that, your entertainment options are limited to repairing things, cooking things (no wonder Han got Leia the kitchen), and getting shot by that little floating droid thing Luke practices being a Jedi with. Awesome.

It doesn't even look that cool

Let's not kid ourselves, here. The Falcon may be fast, strong, and full of surprises, but it's not exactly flash. Even if it was in a good condition, Corellian freighters look like little more than giant floating satellite dishes. Frankly, they look exactly how you'd expect a spaceship designed for pushing cargo around to look, and that's not good.

Compare and contrast the sleek, shiny Nubian yacht, the intimidating grandeur of the Imperial Star Destroyer, or even the timeless, undeniable awesomeness of the X-wing. If you've got any sense of style or shame, you're probably going to peer out of the Falcon's cockpit window at least once, see somebody else's colorful, badass fighter and — just for one moment — feel a twinge of jealousy surging through you. And then you'd be spontaneously gassed to death because you got distracted and didn't fix your ship in time.

Got all that? If you aren't convinced that living on the Millennium Falcon would suck, you must really love that old hunk of junk. The best defense against being ugly is to fly by too fast for anyone to notice. And the Millennium Falcon is fast. How fast? Well, let's take a look.

How fast is the Millennium Falcon, really?

The Millennium Falcon is the coolest vehicle in all of sci-fi-dom, and it's also one of the fastest—after the TARDIS and Heart of Gold, of course. However, for all its supposed speed, we have no idea how fast it can actually go. Well, we crunched some numbers, and here's what we came up with.

We know how fast it isn't

In the first Star Wars movie, Han Solo claims that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in "less than 12 parsecs." What Han, or more correctly, George Lucas doesn't realize is that a parsec is not a unit of time, but one of distance. In case you're wondering, a parsec is equal to 3.26 light years, which is also a unit of distance and not time. If 3.26 light years is too alien a concept to wrap your brain around, it's equal to 19 trillion miles, or 31 trillion kilometers for our metric friends out there. That's about 3 billion times the distance from New York to Tokyo, which is equally meaningless. You can't imagine or truly conceive of any of these numbers, but let's just pretend.

Star Wars Expanded Universe claims

Now, in the Star Wars expanded universe (suck it, Disney), this measurement of time still counts as to how fast the Millennium Falcon is. According to the expanded universe literature, the Kessel Run is "an 18-parsec route used by smugglers," like Han. And apparently, there's a black hole somewhere on this route. So how does the 12 parsecs claim make it fast? Han was able to take a shortcut along this route, essentially coming very close to the black hole without getting sucked in. In this interpretation, Han wasn't talking about the Falcon's speed, but how well it can navigate, so the Millennium Falcon is fast in the sense that it is very maneuverable. While this may be true and does sound impressive, there's a bit of a problem with it. This information was not in Star Wars, unless we missed something in the thousand or so times that we've watched it. Yes, the characters know this, but the viewers don't. This isn't the kind of thing the viewer is able to glean from what is presented in the movie. Also, try as we might, we can't read minds, especially not those of fictitious characters.

There's another hint of its speed

Han also mentions that the Millennium Falcon can reach "0.5 past lightspeed." But that doesn't seem to mean too much. Yes, it sounds impressive because it implies that the Millennium Falcon is able to travel faster than the speed of light. But it also sounds like sci-fi mumbo jumbo. As pointed out by Slate, it seems like the implication is that the Falcon can fly 1.5 times the speed of light, which would be 279,000 miles per second, which is fast as hell. But this is never clarified in any of the films. George Lucas fails us again!

How do we figure out its speed?

In order to figure out the speed of the Millennium Falcon, we should look at some of the paths that it travels in the movies. This can be a little tough because in the original trilogy, the Millennium Falcon rarely flies anywhere directly. In The Empire Strikes Back, it goes from Hoth to Bespin by way of an asteroid field. In Return of the Jedi, it goes from Tatooine to Endor by way of the Rebels' secret base, and that location is never disclosed because the Empire might find out where they are and wipe them out, and then the Bothans would have died for nothing. So the best path to use, and a path other sources have used, to determine the Millennium Falcon's speed is in A New Hope, when Luke, Han, and everyone else travel from Tatooine to the first Death Star, where Alderaan used to be, to rescue Leia. Let's hope great minds think alike.

The distance from Tatooine to Alderaan and the Death Star

According to some estimates, the size of the far, far away galaxy in which the Star Wars stories take place is about 120,000 light years from one side to the other. Tatooine sits somewhere on the outer rim of this galaxy, where the planets on the furthest edge of it are found, far away from its bright center. That's said to put it about 43,000 light years from the galactic core, the dead center of the galaxy. Alderaan sat — and the Death Star sits — in the area where the core worlds are found. That's said to be about 5,000 light years from the dead center of the galaxy. So that puts the two planets about 38,000 light years apart, give or take a few thousand light years. If you're having trouble following along, play with some marbles and strings until you've convinced yourself it isn't worth constructing a scale model. Did that help? Good.

How long it took them to get there

This one is a little tricky. There's a lot of debate out there over how long it takes the Falcon to make the trip. Depending on who you listen to, the time is said to be anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days. Let's agree that two days seems not fast enough for a rescue. Leia would probably have been dead by the time Luke and everyone got there. On the other hand, two hours seems a bit too fast to get there, even for a movie that's two hours long. And, the two hours may be a mistake, albeit an understandable one. In the film, Han says, "We should be at Alderaan about 0200 hours." He's not giving the time it takes them to get there. He's giving the time of destination in military time. That puts their arrival time at 2 a.m. When they leave Tatooine, they do so during the day, not at night. We know it's during the day because the movie establishes that Tatooine has a night, with Luke watching the planet's twin suns set. Now, we don't know exactly when they leave, but we can assume it's not first thing in the morning. Han doesn't seem like the type to get up at the crack of dawn. Plus, the Mos Eisley Cantina probably doesn't open that early either. A safe guess is probably somewhere between noon and 2 p.m., which would suggest a trip of 12 to 14 hours from Tatooine to the Death Star. Let's hope there were rest stops along the way.

Now for the math

So, if the Millennium Falcon traveled 38,000 light years in 12 hours, that means it flies about 3,167 light years per hour. If it made the trip in 14 hours, then it can fly about 2,714 light years per hour. Somewhere in that range, 2,700 to 3,200 light years per hour. Of course, there are some things that we haven't taken into consideration, such as the fact that planets don't just stay in one place all the time. They orbit around suns, and those suns orbit through the galaxy, and galaxies spin, so planets constantly move. Also, some of the information we used comes from expanded universe sources, not the movies, so you can argue with it all you want and still feel good about yourself at the end of the day. But until George Lucas appears and gives an official speed for the Millennium Falcon, that's how fast we're going to say it is: 2,714 light years per hour. Of course, in 20 years a prequel will probably blow this all out of the water, but that's why we like him.